Sega’s mastery of the arcades in the 1980s is undisputed and a lot of the credit for that goes to Yu Suzuki and Sega AM2, the man behind Shenmue, Space Harrier, Virtua Fighter, and Out Run among many, many others.
One thing that Sega arcade games always strove to do was stand out from the competition, and they would often accomplish this in more ways than just excellent gameplay. Many arcade cabinets were huge, elaborate mechanisms with gigantic screens and booming sound. In short, Sega arcade games were made to stand out in an otherwise crowded space.
Released to arcades back in September 1986, Out Run is the quintessential Sega game: As the driver of a Ferrari Testarossa Spider, the player drives across tracks around the world. Out Run was unique for its time because it did not emphasize competition with other racers but instead focused on the pleasure of driving and offered gamers multiple routes with each playthrough. Normally you only raced against the clock and, as long as you made it past the checkpoint, you were allowed to continue racing.
Along the way the player encounters forks in the road where choices have to be made about what route to take. Your car, while not destructible, will suffer time loss if you hit and object. Since your main objective is to make your checkpoint time, losing precious seconds can often be a disaster when things are down to the wire. This was unique for the time because the game did not tout competition as its gameplay mechanic but rather the pure essence of driving itself.
To amp up the appeal of the driving simulator side of things, Out Run arcade cabinets tended to be complex machines that simulated the feeling of driving a race car. This means that you say down in